System integrators working in the security marketplace have been shifting their strategies to become much more closely aligned to their clients in several ways, executives emphasized during the Security Industry Association‘s Securing New Ground conference.
Speaking on a panel in New York City on Oct. 29, leaders representing several successful mid-sized integrators shared their thoughts on how they provide greater value to their clients.
Carey Boethel, president and CEO of Addison, Texas-based Securadyne Systems, stressed that security system integrators can no longer seek to provide the most value to their customers through the selection of products and their installation, particularly with the commoditization of sensors and related security products.
As such, an interesting dichotomy is occurring, Boethel said.
“On the supply side, you have commoditization. You’ve got IP cameras on sale on the Internet with full price transparency and unrestricted access to product,” he said. “But on the other side, you have an increasingly difficult risk environment to deal with. End users look to a variety of different players in the supply chain, including system integrators, for solutions to those problems.”
As commoditization of security products reduces the amount of value integrators can bring to the “middle” of a customer relationship cycle, integrators like Securadyne now seek to deliver more on the front and back ends of the cycle. Generally, the beginning of the cycle focuses on consultation and design for a solution; the middle, solutions deployment; and the end, solutions optimization.
Securadyne has become more proactive in supplying consultative insights with clients early in the sales cycle, Boethel said. On the back end, the firm strives to offer more robust support than it may have in the past.
The company is “improving the value proposition beyond just service and maintenance, which for many years has been the Holy Grail for the system integrators, and getting into a more intimate relationship with the customer where we are hosting and managing systems; we are administering the systems; and we are functioning as an outsourced component of that end user’s corporate security and public safety function,” Boethel said.
Eric Yunag, CEO of Dakota Security Systems in Sioux Falls, S.D., said his company has built a set of security services for specific clients in specific vertical markets.
One big focus area for Dakota Security Systems is getting ahead of regulatory and compliance issues for clients, Yunag said. Specializing bolsters the company’s knowledge in those domains.
“We can’t pursue a dozen client groups with any degree of expertise and efficiency and expect to solve problems pertaining to regulations and compliance,” he said. Clients must derive business value from any investment in their security systems, Yunag said.
“We find ways to open business value beyond the core security functions at our clients’ organizations,” Yunag said, noting that all points of his organization deal on a business level with all points of client organizations.
In addressing these areas, standards and consistency become very important. Integrators must operate consistently between clients and also across the entire footprint of larger enterprises, Yunag said. At the end of the day, consistency in all things is important, he said.
Paul Thomas, president of Fremont, Calif.-based Northland Controls Systems, agreed. Northland Controls grows its client base carefully, adding only one or two new customers a year, Thomas said. To better assist those customers, Northland Controls recently stood up a 24×7 security center offering managed services to its client base.
The company also focuses on transparency, revealing all details of costs from employees in materials in review of its prices with clients. By doing so, Northland Controls ensures clients know exactly what its margins are and, more importantly, where the company is providing the most value.